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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
Here's a story about basketball's international appeal from Commentator Aaron Freeman.
AARON FREEMAN: I watched a skinny black kid playing basketball at the YMCA. He wore the jersey of German born NBA star Dirk Nowitzki. The circle is complete. Dirk Nowitzki was born in Wurzburg, West Germany in 1978. He started playing basketball in the era of Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
To his friends, and maybe his family, the NBA dream of a lanky kid in Wurzburg must have seemed lunatic. But we know what he felt as he watched his dribbling heroes. When Nowitzki saw Jordan make those heart stopping, buzzer beating three pointers, when he watched Dominick Wilkins, the human highlight reel, fake, spin and soar seemingly beyond gravity's reach, when he saw Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone clog the lanes and reject swiftly arcing jump shots, young Dirk Nowitzki must've thought what every NBA fan thinks. That's me. I choose to believe the skinny kid shooting hoops in Chicago is not a freak. When I tell the story, his comrades on the court share the skinny kid's admiration for a hardworking seven-foot superstar from the inner city who never went to college.
Never mind it's the inner of a city 5,000 miles away in a country that knows little if anything about Ebonics. I insist on believing that those Chicago kids embrace Nowitzki's story and slam dunking, shot rejecting play for what it is, a young man's fantasy made real. The NBA brought American street ball to Germany, now Germany's children inspire American street ballers. The circle is complete. I can't wait to see Allen Iverson wear lederhosen.
NORRIS: Aaron Freeman lives in Chicago.